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Moments of Melbourne, Part 11 - Tuesday, December 4th, 1956

Of the145 Gold medal winners at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games, Anatoli Bogdanov was probably the most mysterious. This was not due to his sporting achievements - in fact, on December 4th, the Russian defended his title in the most prestigious and difficult shooting competition, the three prone competition with the short calibre rifle. The aura of suspense surrounded his early life, which lies in the dark (picture: Backyard Safari).

Officially, Bogdanov was born on January 1st, 1932, which is probably wrong. In 1935, a few old women found a three year old boy in a train waggon between Gatchina and Leningrad, together with a sheet of paper with his name and date of birth. It was the time shortly after the great hunger wave in the USSR. The women brought Anatoli to the infant collection base on Leningrad's Kirov Prospect. From there, he came to a Leningrad orphanage.

Unlike many other successful shooters, Bogdanov did not learn his sport at the military. He took part in World War II as a teenage ship clerk with the Baltic Navy, but did not come into contact with sports weapons until 1947, when he attended a technical high school in Leningrad and had lots of time to train.

Bogdanov's win at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics at an age of merely 20 years - defeating Switzerland's Robert Buerchler and fellow Russian Lev Vainshtein - was a sensation. Additionally, Bogdanov scored an Olympic record of 1123 points. When he came to Melbourne, he was the favourite for the gold and delivered with 1138 points, outscoring his countryman Allan Erdmann by a single point (picture: Backyard Safari).

Although Bogdanov called it a career as early as 1958 in order to start studying philosophy, he remained well present in the scene. He published a lot of articles and books about shooting technique and training methods, even in western papers. "The basis for good results is permanent and systematic training," Bogdavon wrote in the German paper Sport und Technik in 1954. On the following four pages, he detailled what he meant by this.

As obscure as his childhood were the last years of Bogdanov's life. He was an instructor at the military high school in Moscow, but after that, it was said he tried to make some money as a night clerk. He died in 2001.

News of the day: Australia's swimmer Murray Rose wins his first gold in the 400 meters freestly +++ Vitali Romanenko of the USSR is best in the running deer shooting competition +++ The first cycling gold of the Games goes to Italy in the 4000 meters team pursuit.

This post first appeared on Olympic Century, please read the originial post: here

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Moments of Melbourne, Part 11 - Tuesday, December 4th, 1956


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